Stress Management Tools

Business couple at breakfast at home ignoring each other

Three Big Mistakes Woman Entrepreneurs Make in Relationships

“Don’t let mistakes ruin your relationships. Put them behind you, so you can move on and grow stronger together.“ – Unknown

Relationship mistakes can change lives for women entrepreneurs. Setting priorities and strong communication can make or break a relationship. Women who are entrepreneurs realize they may not have the same drive as their spouses or partners. Their dreams are the same but how they get there is totally different than someone who works from 9 to 5.

The Trap…

Your partner kisses you goodnight as you pound away at the computer keyboard. You think you just want to finish one more project or task on your to do list. Before you know it, the clock strikes 2 AM. You truly love what you do because there is no way you would continue working into the wee hours of the morning on that next project. The drive to succeed runs through your veins.

Getting one more thing done is going to pave the way to money and happiness. In the meantime, your relationship is strained. It’s so easy to fall into the trap that the other person understands the long working hours and the obsession of making your business work. But what’s simmering underneath?

Business couple at breakfast at home ignoring each otherA client whom I’ll call Michelle talked about mistakes she had made in her relationship. “I should have seen the warning signs,” Michelle said. “He began to distance himself from me. He didn’t want to talk or be intimate anymore.”

Michelle leaned forward sobbing with her hands cupped over her face, “Jeff kept telling me how he felt alone in everything he did. I was doing as much as I could, working and trying to take care of the house. But that’s not what he wanted. He wanted to be with me.”

Here are three big mistakes women entrepreneurs make in relationships:

Relationship Mistake #1: You stop listening.

Entrepreneurs are intense, driven people. The adrenaline flows so much from stress that you are only focusing on what is in front of you. Listen intently to the words being spoken from your loved ones. Listen for patterns in messages spoken over and over. They may have signs of problems you may not be aware of on a daily basis.

Relationship Mistake #2: You don’t make your relationship a priority.

Saying no to making plans with your spouse or partner repeatedly can be a path to permanently harm the relationship. Carve out time that you share the activities that you both love to do. Make an appointment each week to connect with your beloved. Keep that appointment no matter what seems to pop up in your schedule. Set an agenda of items you want to talk about, such as plans, finances and issues important to your relationship. Make sure you are honest, open and willing to work on the issues at hand.

Relationship Mistake #3: You believe that your partner would always be there.

Don’t get into the mindset that you believe they will understand and always be there. Plan to give back to your partner by doing those sweet gestures that sparked your relationship in the first place. Treat others how you would like to be treated. Otherwise, resentment can grow and damage your relationship, possibly beyond repair.

When your business drives and fuels your life, blinding yourself from potential issues can be hazardous to your relationship. Make time for the ones you love. Make sure you don’t make these big mistakes that can be costly to your personal relationships.

Woman relaxing on couch listening to calming apps

Best Stress-Relief Apps: Four Ways to De-Stress on the Go

For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.  ~ Lily Tomlin

Looking for stress relief on the go? You can find ways to control your stress with the very thing you have in your hand: a smartphone. One of the things I love to do is find new ways to kick stress to the curb quickly. I started to search for the best stress-relief apps that you can use immediately to break the cycle of stress.

Here’s a list of my favorite apps for stress relief:

GPS for the Soul is my new favorite stress-relief app that stops the fight-or-flight response in its tracks. This app measures your heart rate variability by placing your finger over the lens of your smartphone camera. The app rates your stress and directs you to solutions to deal with your stress with breathing exercises, music, pictures and more. It’s totally customizable, following Deepak Chopra’s personal GPS guide. The program will help you break the downward spiral of stress and start your day brand new. Currently the app is only on iTunes. Watch this video by Ariana Huffington to learn more.

Woman relaxing on couch listening to calming appsStress Tracker is a free app that helps you pinpoint the cause of your anxiety and manage your stress. This app allows you to identify your stress level, reason, symptoms in real time. Over time, you can trend over days, weeks and months what is contributing your stress. This app is easy to use and can be customized by adding stressors specific to you.

Stress tracker was developed by a team of leading psychologists using cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness principles. I like the fact you can view stress trends to bring greater awareness to your stress response.

Relaxing Sounds of Nature Lite is a great app where you can combine different nature sounds to create a unique outdoor experience. Whether you want to relax or you are preparing to meditate or sleep, this app is perfect. Add relaxing music and you have created your own private Zen experience. You can save your favorite mixes for future use. The app also has a timer so you can even relax on a break at work or set for sleep at night.

Relax Melodies: Sleep and Yoga is another app that you can mix music and sounds. Named one of Amazon’s Top Best Apps of 2012, Relax Melodies has 46 different ambient sounds to mix. You can easily save your favorites or use the premixed sounds for total relaxation. This is available for both iPhone and Android.

Try these apps and tell me about your favorite to help with stress relief.

Stress Management: Your Health Depends On It

stress management, stress in america, chronic stress, healthIf your teeth are clenched and your fists are clenched, your lifespan is probably clenched.” -Terri Guillemets

Stress management is a hot topic with the release of the Stress in America survey last week. This annual survey helps to pinpoint sources of American’s stress level. It reveals sources in reference to gender, generation, and stress triggers.

According to this American Psychological Association survey, the top causes of stress in 2012 were money, work, the economy, family responsibilities, relationships, family health problems, and personal health concerns.

Although more people were concerned with healthy choices and the need to reduce stress, folks were having a difficult time achieving their health goals. These reasons include lack of willpower, lack of time, the cost of making changes and stress itself.

Are we getting numb to stress?

You may find that stress experienced on a daily basis may be manageable. However, a high level of stress can eventually be thought of as normal every day occurrence. Chronic stress that doesn’t change can lead to health issues. Ignoring anxiety won’t make it go away. It will manifest in other parts of your life, such as poor sleep and agitation. What if you believed there were other healthy options to cope with your anxiety?

How you see stress makes a difference

Stress is perceived differently with each individual. What can seem devastating to one person might not affect the next person at all. Your thoughts and reaction to stress is the key. A friend, I’ll call Janice, was overwhelmed with starting a side home business. She worked as an office manager during the day and handled home responsibilities with her family at night. After everyone was tucked into bed, Janice worked on developing her new business.

“I want to do something different with my life and help other people with my product and ideas,” she said.” It just seems like I’m always behind and I never feel caught up. I don’t have any time for me.”

You see, Janice saw her life as unmanageable when in fact she was paving her way to freedom. She looked at what was directly in front of her rather than the big picture.

You have choices in self- care.

Stress can seem overwhelming, leading some to believe that there is nothing to do about issues other than to endure them. Believe you have choices, even if you can’t see what other options are available.

Pick one response to stress you would like to change. Changing your reaction to stress doesn’t mean you need to shift everything at once. For example, a goal might be to eat healthier foods. However, you find yourself pushed and not planning meals during the day. Explore your choices in healthier eating. Maybe you choose to pack your lunch or pick healthier restaurants for meals. Making one healthier choice can lead to putting another change in place.

This is just one example of how to shift your stress behavior and overcome your barriers to a healthy life. Reach out for help if it is difficult to see how to manage our stress differently by contacting a health professional or coach. Your health does depend on it.

What stressful problem would you like you change? Leave you comments below.

Stop Multitasking and Start Prioritizing

multitasking, stress, prioritize, focus, how to be productive, time management“There is time enough for everything in the course of the day, if you do but one thing at once, but there is not time enough in the year, if you will do two things at a time.” – Lord Chesterfield

Multitasking is an attempt to do several tasks at once for the sake of time. One of the biggest myths about productivity is that you will get more done if you multitask.

Multitasking was actually developed for computers, not humans. The task juggling of several actions became hugely popular in the 1990’s. But studies revealed that the human mind is not capable of juggling too many things at once.

Even everyday activities, like a trip to the grocery store, can turn into a marathon event. You are picking up dinner, texting, setting appointments, watching the kids, transferring money to different accounts on an app, and making sure you use all of your coupons. That just sounded crazy, right? Yet that’s just one example of how multitasking works.

The Ugly Truth About Multitasking

A 2010 Harvard Business Review post states multitasking can lead to as much as a 40% drop in productivity, increased stress, and a 10% drop in IQ. Multitasking at the most dangerous level is texting or talking on the phone while driving. Eighteen percent of injury crashes in 2010 were reported as distraction-affected crashes.

The truth is when you try to manage several things at once you get nothing done efficiently, safely or properly.

You can get multiple things done during the day without trying to do them all at once. The biggest challenge is staying in charge of your thoughts, rather than letting them be in charge of you. When you try to do too many things at once your mind just switches from one task to the other. Multitasking can leave you standing in the middle of the room wondering what you got up for in the first place. Prioritizing the most important tasks that are going to make the biggest impact is the key.

Start Prioritizing Instead.

Block off time to work on a specific task. Get as much done as possible at one time on your project. This is where setting small goals to bigger projects really becomes effective.

Do you have ideas that come up when you are working on something? A trick to help you focus while working is to write it down while you are working on the task at hand. Look at your list when you are finished with what you were originally doing. Many times the distracting thought you had wasn’t important.

Multitasking and other distractions can be habits that block you from getting a task done. Prioritize your tasks, be in charge of your thoughts and stop multitasking.

5 Tips on How to Focus When Working from Home

work from home, home based business, distraction, can't focus, How to be more productiveWorking from home is definitely growing in popularity by leaps and bounds.  Epic numbers of people are starting businesses where they can work at home. It’s an opportunity to ignite your passion and create a dream business, whether it’s full time or after a regular work day. However, working from a home office comes with its share of stresses and can pose some challenges in the concentration department. How to focus when working from home can be a challenge.

Attention span…what?

A common trait of an entrepreneur is an amazing level of creativity. The downside is you can easily get detoured from work. Distractions pop up like Outlook dinging, phones ringing and of course, Facebook. Concentrating on one project can be blown when you remember something else that needs your attention. Insert your mind producing your latest fantastic ideas about another project.  And dare I mention that doing dishes and laundry seem like a much better idea than the project that keeps repeating on your to do list? The possibilities are endless to become overly sidetracked.

So how can you stay focused when working at home? Here are five tips to help you prevent getting distracted at your home office:

Designate home office space-and stick to it.

Create a space specifically designated for your work. It’s best to have a space where you can shut the door. Your desk area needs to be functional where you can grab what you need in a snap. Use calendars, dry erase and bulletin boards to keep you on task. Try using sticky notes of all sizes to guide you toward your goals and keep clear what your plan is for the day.

Be careful that you don’t work in an easy chair. An extra comfortable chair might be nice for a change of pace but there are some downsides.  There are greater distractions like the television or family members wanting your attention. Also, your posture becomes compromised with your computer or smartpad in your lap. You will begin to notice more tension in your neck and low back when working from your recliner. Sitting at a desk keeps you ergonomically fit

Keep a work schedule.

Set a designated time to work, just as if you were going to the office. Structure your day to include meals and breaks. Have ways to remind yourself to include self-care in your day. Stretch, drink plenty of water and refuel your body with nourishing healthy foods. The upside to working for yourself is that you can build in times to refuel your body, mind and spirit.
There may be times when you have to give a project and extra push to meet a deadline. Make sure you don’t get caught up in working too many hours. Sometimes it’s hard to shut off the computer for down time. Do practice keeping your time sacred for your best health.

Set personal life boundaries.

Set clear communications and boundaries with family, friends or roommates when you have a home office. Be clear about saying no to ongoing extra responsibilities. Teach your loved ones that time spent working at home does not equate to doing extra chores around the house. Plan your time and clearly set your limits with others.

Keep healthy foods and water on hand.

When you have a desk at home there is less of a temptation to hit a fast food drive-through. Prepare and plan your meals as well as keeping healthy snacks on hand. Drink plenty of water and keep hydrated. You’ll be surprised how this tip will keep you energized during your day.

Set times to connect with people.

Set specific times during the day that you’ll answer emails, respond to calls, and engage in social media. Set a timer to hop on and off the internet. Close social media tabs when working on your computer. This will reduce the temptation of checking the latest feed.

You can overcome the challenge of distraction when working from home. Create a system that best fits your style and personality and reduce stress when working from home.

Achieving Goals: Giving Up Is Not an Option

Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.  ~Henry Ford

Most people set out to achieve a number of goals at the beginning of 2012.  It’s not uncommon to give up on New Year’s resolutions that you were so passionate about last January first. Loss of motivation when you are working toward a goal can be so easy when you get frustrated. It seems so much easier just to make an excuse and walk away.

There are reasons you give up on a goal:

  • You hit a point that you haven’t done something before
  • You just give up hope
  • You have lost sight of the reasons you wanted to change in the first place
  • You decide the goal isn’t what you want anymore

Giving up is not an option.

I had the honor of working with a patient I’ll call Buddy. Buddy had a serious head injury after accidentally falling into a moving grain bin. He survived but was in a coma for some time. He responded to very little around him, just mostly to pain. He was released from the hospital and sent to a nursing home where I worked as an occupational therapist. Buddy was in his thirties and had a very supportive wife. “I just want him to be happy and be able to come home,” she said. Sarah sat by his side every day, praying he would come out of his coma. He slowly began to respond to other sounds and smells as we worked with him in therapy.
One morning Buddy opened his eyes and his intense recovery started. He struggled to swallow and feed himself again. He worked to be able to get stronger just to sit on the edge of the bed. He smiled as he was able to comb his hair and start to put on a shirt again. He began to speak his first words.

These tasks were no small feat and are things we take for granted every day.

Watching Buddy meet his goals inspired me to look at my own dreams. Suddenly my excuses were nothing but weak. He motivated me to look inside my heart and see I had strength to move forward, too.

After three months, Buddy was ready to move to a rehabilitation center where he could progress faster. He made a goal that he would walk back into the nursing home to visit us again. I thought a lot about Buddy and kept in contact with his wife, Sarah. The nursing home staff was all rooting for him to return home.

One day, the unit charge nurse said there was someone here to see me. I went to the front lobby and walked out onto the porch. There was Buddy in the parking lot, walking with a cane to see us. We cheered and wept tears of joy that day. Buddy smiled and thanks us for helping him to get better. We thanked him for teaching us not to give up on something we wanted so much in our lives.

“Never, never, never, never give up.”-Winston Churchill

Buddy was an inspirational teacher in my life. He taught me that even if life looked impossible and I wanted to throw in the towel that it just wasn’t a choice. Failure is not a reason to stop working and give up hope.  Healing hurt and loss comes from taking action to get to a better place in life.

Who’s the Buddy in your life? There is most likely one or more people in your life that keep you inspired. Write down all the reasons that you can to hold onto them when you want to give up. Hold onto them and read them at the very moment you want to walk away from your dreams. Keep strong in your convictions and know giving up is not an option.

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